For the enterprise, building online business presence with web 2.0 portal ecosystem, combination of collaboration and e-commerce features are definite requisite. Quick rollout of such ecosystem is possible through an integration of Liferay portal, which encompasses internal and external portlets (CRM, ERP, HR, Learning Management and more) and enterprise collaboration (content management, business process management, e-mail) with Magento e-Commerce platform for B2B and B2C online sales.
Need for Liferay and Magento Integration:
Liferay, the CMS and integration platform, has focused on enterprise collaboration and content management but it lags key features when it comes to creating an e-Commerce store with Liferay. Liferay shopping portlet needs general improvements (listed below) that would make it easier for enterprise to create online store with Liferay.
- Multi-store functionality – Ability to run multiple stores using the same admin with every site having its own looks and functionality.
- Catalog Management – Batch Import and export of catalog, Google Base integration, tagging, categorization, comments, links, ratings, advanced pricing and more.
- Marketing and Promotional tools - cross selling, up selling, "Coupon" management, Special offers, saving, festive offers, flexible pricing, gift vouchers, "those who have bought this product also bought this", “related products”.
- Shipping and Payments – Robust currency converter using latest exchange rates (WebServiceX) which allows customers to purchase products and services in major currencies around the world, dynamic shipping model where the goods can be shipped to different addresses within the same order.
- Return Management - To manage stock levels and money refunds.
- Analytics and Reporting – Admin dashboard providing an overview of the performance report with the list of abandoned Shopping Cart items and helps you pick up your best customers and offer them better services.
Instead of creating everything mentioned above from scratch, it would be better to utilize Liferay’s virtually infinite flexible architecture, which can be easily extended using web services, CAS, LDAP or embedding Liferay portlets to communicate with an existing e-commerce platform such as Magento, Konakart, ZenCart or other.
Konakart” seems to be little stable and affordable java based shopping cart application for small enterprise and business. However, it lags support for digital marketing platform such as promotion, gift certificates, loyalty programs, and affiliate programs.
Magento is an e-Commerce shopping application that is used by more than thirty thousand merchants. Magento has a robust, reliable and secure infrastructure standard which follows the Zend framework coding standard. This application is used by the big brands like mespresso, Samsung. As per Gartner MQ 2013, “eBay's ownership has encouraged larger organizations to include eBay-Magento in evaluations where cost and flexibility are considerations.”
Figure: Gartner's ecommerce MQ for 2013 featured eBay-Magento in Niche Players as part of eBay's X.commerce strategy.
Magento has a wide community support and magento connect - a marketplace to download out-of-box plugins like facebook "like" button, social shopping or may be a payment provider for Germany’s banking system. There is nothing on the magento connect needs to be coded, it’s as easy as to install an app on your phone.
Liferay and Magento integration (through web services) is preferred when the enterprise wants to have a full-fledged portal with e-Commerce ready features which can provide a rich end-user experience (to consumers, partners, employees, and administrators) for an effective collaboration, workflow based content management, product listing, order management, comprehensive reporting and many other.
For B2B transactions, the integration will facilitate enterprises to build multi-tenancy – an ability to organize users by business-defined categories such as departments, product types, geographies, or offices, as well as by cross-departmental teams and workgroups. Each community and organization may be given an ability to inherit, define or configure some parts of the application with their own permissions and role management for the various portals.
Figure: Liferay and Magento Integration Architecture
With Magento e-Commerce, store administrators can handle multiple stores and allows quick and simple creation of product listings (includes automated synchronization of stock levels, categorization, pricing, and product details). Additionally, readily available plugins may interact with all major payment gateways such as Authorize, Google, PayPal, Payflow Pro, CyberSource, SagePay and many others. Magento has ready to use powerful marketing tools to facilitate up-sell, cross-sell, and flexible pricing those advocate the buyer to order more products which translates to increased revenue.
With a complete understanding of client's business needs, integration of Magento with Liferay enterprise portal, the combined solution can offer following benefits:
- Real-time collaboration among buyers/customers, partners, suppliers, employees and other affiliates
- Robust and open architecture avoiding vendor lock-in
- Reduced time to roll out online store across geographies with multi-lingual & multi-currency
- Rich and peristent buyer experience through an unified platform
- Liferay portal with powerful Magento e-Commerce features
- Total cost reduction across
- Licenses, maintenance and support
- Migration of legacy applications without incurring additional cost
- Infrastructure saving through unified platform